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  • Writer's pictureTone Rasmussen

Crystal Palace secures first-ever WSL promotion

Crystal Palace's draw against Sunderland saw them seal the WSL promotion for the 2024/2025 season. Crystal Palace got to lift the trophy at home at Selhurst Park in front of a record crowd of 6,796. This is the first time Crystal Palace will play in the WSL and the Eagles won the tight title race against Charlton Athletic who were three points behind on the final game day. However, Crystal Palace were a staggering 20 goals ahead of Charlton and were secured a place in the top flight before the last game week.

The South-East London club has won 14 games and scored 55 goals. The Eagles forward Elise Hughes also got to bring the Golden Booth trophy home. She scored 16 goals in 21 league appearances. However, the top scorer might have to miss out on most of the WSL debut season after tearing her ACL against Lewes in the second-last game of the season.

This is a huge milestone for the club who has had various performances in the championship. The last few years, they have been a consistent mid table team, ended fifth last season, but have exceeded all expectations set by the public and by themselves this season.

Everything for Crystal Palace has clicked this season and manager Laura Kaminski is optimistic about the future. Crystal Palace play their home games at Gander Green Lane which is the home grounds of the National League club Sutton United. With Palace getting promoted, we will be witnessing yet another London club asserting itself into the London Derby narrative, but the south-east London club's biggest rival is located 46 miles further south on the British coast. This season we're also going to see if the rivalry between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace, sometimes named A23 or M23 derby, is also a bitter rivalry in the WSL.

Bristol City relegated after 4-0 loss

After Bristol City’s loss against Manchester City, it was nothing more the club could do, and will have to take the long way down after one season in the WSL. The last time Bristol City got relegated was in 2020. They are one of only two clubs in the WSL without backing from clubs who are in the Premier League.

As the game has grown and the funding for the clubs have grown, the gap between the top clubs and the championships clubs are getting cleared in every aspect. Bristol is stood with only one victory on 20 games, three draws and 16 losses and a goal difference at -38. There have been shouts for the lack of investment after a very slow January window, when it was clear the club was struggling.

A number of unforeseen injuries on key players and loan players who have barely been able to touch the ball before they returned to their parent club have made it a tough season. Because of the injuries have been to mostly experienced players, manager Lauren Smith has also been forced to rely on her younger players and has fielded the youngest team in the league on average (24 years, 136 days).

Lauren Smith's side might benefit from having played academy players and younger players when they are now going into a rebuilding phase. The players have the WSL experience, they know what it takes to play against the best and what is expected of them. However, the Championship have grown immensely over the past couple of seasons and is intensely competitive and Bristol know that immediate WSL promotion won’t come easy.


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